There is nothing more cosy and wonderful at Christmas time than a good book. If you’ve got the time, you should always read a classic and I definitely have one to recommend! The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
If ever there was a book perfectly suited to my preferences it is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anna Brontë. I felt somewhat obliged to read the works of all the Brontë sisters since Wuthering Heights is my all-time favourite novel but it has to be said that Anne is my favourite female writer, not just of the Brontës but of all time.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall seems, at first, to follow a man who is surrounded by rumours about a new tenant of Wildfell Hall who, after some investigation, he begins to desire but is always refused. The tenant herself, Helen, later gives him a letter explaining her story about how she came to be there on her own without her huband.
I am regularly disappointed by female characters in film and literature who, even when they are brave, are never representations of real women. There is a definite need for female characters to demonstrate tempers, aggression and, above all else, courage, in the way only women do. The many times protagonist Helen had to swat away tears to uphold a strong public appearance always tugged on my heartstrings because that’s what we have all been known to do and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall captured it perfectly.
In the 1800’s to leave one’s husband was unheard of and all women that did were condemned. Anne Brontë was brave to write such a strong woman who, I believe, would have been quite the pioneer of feminism! Her speech on the treatment and upbringing differences of boys and girls resonated around my mind for days after reading it. Her determination to remain truer to her religion than to her heart was incredible. Anne was clearly a queen of character building.
As with all the Brontë sisters, the settings in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was beautifully described and the atmosphere always perfectly captured. The many twists and turns of plot kept me guessing and reading on. The literature, though old, was never too difficult or abrupt enough to disturb the pace, and was always poetic.
The only reason I gave The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 4 stars rather than 5 is because this book would have been just as wonderful even if there were less of it. The letter style of writing was probably a front for Anne to hide behind whilst she bravely hurled out new feminist ideas, but allowed for unnecessary rambles.
It is a bit of a mission to get through, but I recommend it because it is worth it!